Amachan / あまちゃん (2013)
[156 episodes, approx. 15 mins each]
Directors: Inoue Tsuyoshi, Yoshida Teruyuki, Kajiwara Toki
Writer: Kudo Kankuro
Cast: Nounen Rena, Koizumi Kiyoko, Miyamoto Nobuko
This is an asadora (aka morning drama). I’m not familiar with these and this is the first one I’ve watched. Although there are a lot of episodes, each episode is only 15 minutes and airs 6 days a week. The six episodes in a week all have the same title so they kinda form a larger 1.5 hour episode. In terms of total running time, you’re essentially looking at the equivalent of about 2 seasons of American TV of 20 episodes each, more or less.
Amachan stars Nounen Rena. It was apparently her breakout role although I first saw her in one of her later works, a live action film adaptation of Princess Jellyfish in 2014. It was her last movie before she mysteriously disappeared from the entertainment world. Very little info can be found about it but it seems likely that leaving her agency resulted in her being blacklisted from TV and film. She only recently returned in the last few years under a new stage name “Non”. She released some music and there is an “I am Non” youtube series about her making a film. In early 2020, she starred in a new movie, Stardust Over the Town. Her long absence was so disappointing but she’s still young and hopefully she’ll continue to get more movie and TV work.
Continue reading “J-Drama review: Amachan [Recommended]”
Last year was the first time I went to Otakuthon and I mainly went to attend the Capcom Live! music concert, which turned out to be mostly disappointing. Basically, I only liked the Street Fighter and Okami songs, which are both games that are overflowing with great tracks and easily merit their own concerts.
This year I went for Miyavi’s No Sleep ‘Till Tokyo concert on Saturday, August 17, 2019. I became familiar with him after hearing about Angelina Jolie casting him in a movie but didn’t really pay much attention to him until he started appearing in Japanese movies like the live action Bleach. Discovering that this guy is a major rock star and skilled guitarist swayed me into going to Otakuthon pretty much only to see him. Was it worth it?
Continue reading “Miyavi concert at Otakuthon 2019”
Dance with Me / ダンスウィズミー [Dansu Wizu Mi] (2019)
Director & Writer: Shinobu Yaguchi
Cast: Ayaka Miyoshi, Yuu Yashiro, Chay, Takahiro Miura, Tsuyoshi Muro
Producer: Shoji Masui
Cinematographer: Kazuhiro Taniguchi
A female office worker, Shizuka Suzuki (Ayaka Miyoshi, former idol member of Sakura Gakuin), detests musicals but unintentionally gets hypnotized into dancing whenever she hears music. This causes real-life consequences such as very costly property damage. When she can’t find the hypnotist where she first encountered him, she embarks on a road trip to track down him down so that he can reverse the hypnosis. She meets others who join her along the way such as the hypnotist’s former assistant and a street musician.
This is a comedy musical but it’s not your typical musical where nobody bats an eyelash when everybody suddenly bursts into song then returns to the regularly scheduled story as if it was all totally normal. This movie actually shows the difference between the fantastical musical that Shizuka perceives while she uncontrollably sings & dances and the actual bewildered and sometimes horrified reactions of the people in real life. It’s ingenious and hysterical.
Continue reading “Dance with Me – movie review – Fantasia 2019 [Recommended]”
Chiwawa / チワワちゃん [Chiwawa-chan] (2019)
Director & Writer: Ken Ninomiya
Cast: Mugi Kadowaki, Ryo Narita, Tina Tamashiro, Shiori Yoshida
Next Fantasia screening is Monday, July 15.
A young woman is found murdered and her old friend tries to find out what happened to her by talking to various mutual friends and acquaintances. In the past they partied hard using money stolen by Chiwawa but afterwards everyone went there separate ways although Chiwawa would come and go in the lives of her past friends and acquaintances.
There are quite a few music video style montages with a lot of lighting effects combined with frequent cuts. The hyperactive editing and flashing is enough to warn epileptics to stay away from watching this movie. But that may also apply to regular movie goers too. There’s a definitely an energy here that the film captures and a sense of nostalgia and youthful yearning. The music especially helps in enforcing a sense of nostalgia.
Continue reading “Chiwawa – movie review – Fantasia 2019”
As usual there are free outdoor shows at this year’s Montreal International Jazz Festival. I’ll mention a couple of performances below but there are, of course, many more.
Linda May Han Oh quartet, June 30, 5pm
Linda Oh is a bassist born in Malaysia and raised in Perth, Australia.
Connie Han trio, July 6, 7pm
Connie Han is a pianist who was raised in Los Angeles, USA.
Next Music From Tokyo vol 14 will have shows in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. As always, the lineup is filled with diverse music from five very different groups from the indie/underground Japanese music scene. The Montreal show is on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at Le Petit campus. Trailer below.
Check out videos from each of the bands below.
Continue reading “Next Music From Tokyo vol 14 tour”
It just so happens that some of my favorite Kpop girl group songs also have equally great and distinctive dances. The sad thing is most of these groups have disbanded and some of them never achieved the popularity they perhaps deserved.
After School – Because of You (2009)
Girl’s Day – Expectation (2013)
Spica.S – Give Your Love (2014)
Fiestar – You’re Pitiful (2015)
EXID – I Love You (2018)
Continue reading “Kpop girl groups – Favorite songs & dances”